Australia’s women made history in France on Sunday when they became the first Australian Rugby team to win a HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title.
After five rounds of the series, the girls in gold needed just a quarter-final win in Clermont to secure the title, after winning series rounds in Dubai, Sao Paulo and Atlanta this season.However the double eluded Sharni Williams and her team, with Canada beating the series champions in a thrilling final in front of an incredibly passionate crowd in Stade Gabriel-Montpied in Clermont on Sunday.
While Australia battled bravely in the Auvergne, Canada were the best team on the night, with Kelly Russell picking up HSBC Player of the Final with an impressive display, particularly in the first half. Tries from Magali Harvey, Russell, the superb Ghislaine Landry and Brittany Benn saw them edge the Australians, 29-19. Speaking after the final, Australian captain Sharni Williams was disappointed with the loss to Canada but was delighted to finally get her hands on a sevens series trophy.
“For us it’s a massive boost. It’s fantastic. Women’s rugby is changing and evolving in Australia and we’re happy to be leading the charge. “We put in all the preparation we could for the final but we weren’t the best team and credit to Canada, they were the better team on the day and we didn’t show up. But these things happen and it keeps us grounded. “We can’t get complacent now and we have to aspire to be better going into the Olympics, but we’re going to enjoy tonight,” said Williams. The final round of the 2015-16 series was the last official tournament for many teams ahead of the Olympic Games and the matches were both tough and thrilling in equal measure. The Plate final was won by popular hosts France while Russia claimed the Bowl Final.
Meanwhile, the top nine teams in the standings secured their spots on next year’s HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
The final weekend in Clermont-Ferrand also means that the seedings have been confirmed for the Women’s repechage in Dublin on 25-26 June next, with Russia taking the top seed, Spain the second seed and hosts Ireland will occupy the third seeding for the last chance to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio in August.